How To Darken Leather Boots

How To Darken Leather Boots? [7 Easy Ways]

Leather can get rough and lose its color over time if not well maintained. That is one of the reasons why we see people asking questions like “can you darken leather boots?”.

Well, the answer to that question is YES. However, it can be a bit expensive to darken leather boots because of the expensive leather products available in the market.

But you don’t need to worry because in this guide we are going to tell you seven ways to darken your leather boots cheaply with natural products. Stay with us!

How To Make Leather Boots darker?

Mink Oil

Mink oil is the most popular and the best way to darken leather. If you ask any boots guy about darkening leather boots, he’ll surely recommend mink oil. It not only darkens leather but also increases its life span. Mink oil is more efficient and safer than vegetable oils because it is an animal oil and animal oils are thinner than vegetable oils. They don’t leave stains on the leather as well.

Read Also: Saddle Soap vs Mink Oil Comparison

Mink OilDarkening leather with mink oil is also very easy. It can be done following these five easy steps:

  1. Clean the boot with your regular shoe brush
  2. Pour 4 drops of Mink oil on a rag.
  3. Brush the rag in a circular motion on the boot.
  4. Let it dry in the sun for 5 hours.
  5. Redo the process if the color doesn’t come out as you wanted.


  1. More efficient than vegetable oils.
  2. Makes the boot waterproof.
  3. Increases life span.


  1. It might take some time to dry.
  2. Can leave stains if not applied properly
  3. Can leave an unpleasant smell on the leather.

Related: How To Apply Mink Oil To Boots Properly?

Neatsfoot Oil

Neatsfoot oil is also another animal oil that darkens leather perfectly. You can find Neatsfoot oil at any of your nearest superstores easily. The best thing about this oil is that it doesn’t leave stains so it is a safer option for beginners to change the color of leather shoes at home. The process to apply neatsfoot oil is the same as mink oil.


  1. Readily Available
  2. Softens the leather
  3. Increase the lifespan of the leather


  1. Can only dark a few shades of the leather.
  2. Doesn’t work on new leather boots.
  3. Can leave some odor.

Related: Neatsfoot Oil vs Mink Oil

Leather Dyes

Darkening leather using leather dyes is a very popular and quite effective way. It provides the leather with a beautiful shine that makes the leather boots look new. Leather dyes are readily available at most superstores and they are quite affordable.

Leather Dyes

After buying a leather dye follow these steps to darken your leather boots.

  1. Take a rag and wrap it around one of your fingers.
  2. Apply a small amount of leather dye to the rag.
  3. Brush your finger in a circular motion on the boot.
  4. If the dye runs out, pour another small amount.
  5. Let the boot dry for at least 24 hours.

Also Check: Best Work Boots For Concrete Workers


  1. Dozens of dark shades are available.
  2. Less expensive.
  3. Provides a new look to the boots.
  4. Smells good.


  1. Can leave an uneven color if not applied properly.
  2. Doesn’t provide waterproofing.

Shoe Polish

You might think it’s funny, but a good shoe polish can renew the look of leather boots. It is a very effective, easy, and cheap way to darken your leather shoes. You don’t need to put much effort into cleaning leather boots with shoe polish. The steps to darken your leather boots with shoe polish are the same as darkening with leather dyes. There is no need to leave your boots to dry for 24 hours. Apply shoe polish, leave them for half an hour and you’re good to go.


  1. Cheapest way to darken leather.
  2. Easy for beginners.
  3. Take less time.


  1. Doesn’t provide waterproofing.
  2. Can fade away easily.
  3. Not the most ideal solution.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the cheapest and most easily available vegetable oils. It not only darkens leather boots perfectly but also increases their lifespan.

Follow these steps to darken leather using olive oil:

  1. First of all, remove all the dirt from your boots using your normal shoe brush.
  2. Take a rag and pour one tablespoon of olive oil on it.
  3. Rub the rag gently on the boots starting from the toes.
  4. After completing, let the olive oil dry for 24 hours.
  5. You can redo the process if the color is not dark enough but be careful as more oil can darken the leather too much.


  1. Easily available at home.
  2. Inexpensive.
  3. Can add shine to the boots.


  1. Can leave the leather sticky.
  2. Olive oil doesn’t smell very pleasant.
  3. Can leave stains on the boot.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another less expensive and readily available vegetable oil. It is one of those vegetable oils that doesn’t leave stains on the leather. The best thing about coconut oil is that it darkens all types of leather. However, some people complain that coconut oil does not make the leather darker than they expected.

Coconut OilThe pro tip while darkening leather with coconut oil is to use more coconut oil and apply it with a hard hand. The process to darken leather naturally using coconut oil is the same as olive oil but pour two tablespoons of coconut oil instead of one.


  1. Perfect if you want to go vegan
  2. Readily available
  3. Less expensive
  4. Provide natural shine


  1. Not as effective as other artificial products.
  2. Take more time to darken
  3. Can leave stains if not applied properly

Boots Oils

There are a lot of boots oils available in the market. Although some of them can be a bit expensive. However, boots oils are the most effective and easiest way to darken your leather boots. You don’t need to put much effort into darkening your boots if you use boots oil. Red Wing’s Boot Oil is a popular leather darkening oil. It is made up of mink oil with added pine pinch that makes the boot weather resistant. There are other boots oils available on the market as well. Choose one that matches the color of your boots. If you choose the wrong shade, it can leave an uneven color. After choosing the product follow the same steps as dying the leather.


  1. Provides conditioning to the boot.
  2. Darken the leather boot perfectly.
  3. Easy process for beginners.
  4. Provides water and weather resistance.


  1. Can be a bit expensive.

Things To Avoid While Darkening Leather Yourself:

  1. Knowing how to darken leather is a skill, if you are trying it yourself then make sure you pick the right products. If you choose the wrong product or a cheap product thinking it can do the same job, remember it can damage your boots. So, choose the right oil, dye, or polish.
  2. There are dozens of different shades of oils, dyes, and polishes available. You need to pick the best-matched shade with the color of your leather boots. If the color doesn’t match it will leave stains and since the process is irreversible, you cannot go back to the original color.
  3. Try to avoid suede darkener, rough out, or similar finishes. They can leave stains on your leather boot.
  4. Over applying the product can permanently damage your leather boots. The pro tip in this regard is to use less oil or polish in one go and let it dry. If it doesn’t provide the desired results, repeat the process.


How to darken suede without dye?

If you don’t want to use dye to darken your darkening suede boots, you can use natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and Neatsfoot oil.

Does Neatsfoot oil darken leather?

Yes, Neatsfoot oil is a good and cost-effective way to darken leather. It also increases the lifespan of the leather.

Can you dye leather boots?

Absolutely, you can dye leather boots using leather dyes or other natural oils such as coconut oil.

Will mink oil darken leather?

Yes, mink oil will darken your leather. It is nowadays a very popular method to darken leather boots.

How to darken saddle leather?

You can darken saddle leather using animal oils such as mink oil and neatsfoot oil.

How to darken faux leather?

The most effective way of darkening faux leather is using vegetable oils such as coconut oil and olive oil.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *